Human Interest

In time of isolation, families get creative to prevent depression and suicide among elderly

families visit

As the healthcare system grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many states are looking to expand telemedicine. The assisted suicide lobby has wasted no time in pushing for assisted suicide through telemedicine, an effort which they have advocated for years. In a fundraising email from Kim Callinan, president of a prominent assisted suicide lobbying group, obtained by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Callinan wrote that the group is “responding quickly to the needs and opportunities of the times.” By this, Callinan means that they are seeking to capitalize on the current crisis to allow patients to be assessed for legal suicide without meeting a doctor in person. The implications of such a policy are deeply troubling. Studies show that the reason patients seek assisted suicide is most often mental distress, including depression and fear of becoming a burden to family members.

READ: Euthanasia organization tells elderly they’ll have a ‘bad death’ without assisted suicide

At the same time, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care communities are not permitting visitors in order to prevent the spread of the virus to elderly and vulnerable people with underlying health conditions. This puts these same individuals at increased risk of depression and feelings of despair, the conditions which prompt most people to seek out assisted suicide.

Despite the inability to visit nursing homes in person, many people across the country are getting creative to let them know that they are not forgotten. Many communities are encouraging people to send cards, letters, and photos to nursing home residents to cheer them up.


One brother and sister found a unique way to brighten their mother’s day after her nursing home barred visitors. Mark Michlig and Sara Helmer have been showing up each day outside their mother’s window with brightly colored, handmade signs. Michlig told WSAW, “My mom is restricted to her bed, so going to her window with a sign that says ‘Good morning’ or ‘I love you’ or ‘Hi Mom’ was a surprise for her.”


Helmer added, “She loves it. The first time we went there, she cried because we didn’t tell her. We went up there and knocked on the window and she loved the signs, and she was crying, and she just loved it, talking on the phone so we talked on the phone for a few minutes and sat out there.”

While assisted suicide groups are seeking to dangerously expand death, other people across the country are finding creative and life-affirming ways to connect with and encourage their most vulnerable friends and family in isolation. Surely there is something all of us can do to encourage those who desperately need it.

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